Majority support universal pension tax: survey

(Originally published in 《RTHK》, 28th September, 2017)


Dr Charles Kwong (centre) says their findings show a universal pension scheme could work if employees, employers, and the government all contribute. Photo: RTHK

A survey by the Open University suggests that most people are willing to pay more tax if the money is to be used to fund a universal pension scheme.

The university’s School of Arts and Social Sciences interviewed about 1,800 people between June and August last year, and found that 72 percent were willing to pay an extra 1 to 2.5 percent in tax. Among this group, most thought thought an even higher tax would also be acceptable.

The government has argued that universal retirement protection is not financially sustainable, while businesses said it would add to their costs.

But an associate dean of the school, Dr Charles Kwong, said their findings show that this could work under a tripartite scheme with contributions from employers, employees, and the government.

He said if employees are willing to pay extra tax, then it would send a strong signal to employers who may not be willing to pay more.

“If employers [are] willing to pay, then they will ask a very legitimate question: why not the government?” Kwong said. “The government has a role to play to protect the retirement life of everybody, not [just] a single individual.”



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